Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/O'Reilly, Andrew

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O'REILLY, ANDREW (1742–1832), Austrian general of cavalry, was born of Roman catholic parents at Ballinlough, co. Limerick, on 3 Aug. 1742, and entered the Austrian service in 1763, at the end of the seven years' war. He became a lieutenant in 1778, and was ober-lieutenant and captain of the infantry regiment of Calenberg in 1778-9. While major and adjutant of the 1st carabineer regiment in 1780-4, he served in the Bavarian succession war. In 1784-8 he was lieutenant-colonel of the 8th Hohenzollern cuirassiers, and in 1789 became colonel of the light horse regiment of Modena, which was made the 5th light dragoons in 1798, and was disbanded in 1801. He fought against the Turks in 1789, when the Austrians retook Belgrade ; and as a major-general in the Low Countries in 1792-4. When the French, under Moreau, crossed the Rhine in 1796, O'Reilly's skill as a cavalry commander could not save the Austrians from defeat, and he was himself wounded and made prisoner. He was soon after exchanged, and given a command in the interior.

In 1799 O'Reilly was in command at Zurich, and afterwards, as field-marshal-lieutenant (lieutenant-general), at Piacenza. He distinguished himself in the Italian campaign of 1800, at Montebello, Marengo, the Mincio, and other engagements, and received the grand cross of the Maria Theresa order. In 1805 he again distinguished himself at the head of the cavalry at Coldrerio, where the French, under Massena, were defeated after two days' hard fighting. When the war with France was renewed in 1809, O'Reilly was placed under the orders of the Archduke Maximilian, and when the archduke abandoned the defence of Vienna, which was attacked by an overwhelming force, O'Reilly was appointed governor. Deeming further resistance useless, and a conflagration of the city being feared, O'Reilly arranged for a surrender. The burgomaster presented himself before Napoleon, and terms were agreed to for a capitulation, by the fourteenth article of which the governor was to be permitted to bear the news to the Emperor Francis and explain the position of the monarchy. Old and worn out, O'Reilly took no part in the later campaigns of 1813-15. A general of cavalry and colonel-proprietor of the 3rd light horse regiment (since the 8th uhlans), O'Reilly died at Vienna, 5 July 1832, at the age of 90.

O'Reilly married, in 1784, Maria Barbara, countess of Sweerts and Spork; but, having no issue, adopted as his heir the son of his kinsman, Hugh O'Reilly of Ballinlough.

[Neue Deutsche Biographie and authorities there referred to.]

H. M. C.